Recall the cop who casually hosed students with pepper spray on the UC Davis campus?
UCD Police Lieutenant John Pike
As my friend Bob pointed out, this cop has become a meme! Click on this link: http://peppersprayingcop.tumblr.com/ THEN Google “pepper spraying cop” and you’ll see many more art pieces like this. It’s all over the web!
The Skeleton Key to the Gemstone File (SK) was an underground cultural phenomenon of the early 1970s. The document, by a then-unnamed author, purported to explain the relationship between the US government, the Mafia, Howard Hughes, and Aristotle Onassis, while providing believable scenarios of who killed John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The SK was photocopied thousands of times (consider; this predated the digital age) and spread globally hand-to-hand. A few times it was rewritten and small changes were made. Some people would strike the “F” word and replace it with a softer term. Some would add or delete actual information that changed the story a little. In some cases the changes were suspect as if certain forces were interested in diverting people’s attention away from certain aspects.
In 2008 I met the author, Stephanie Caruana, who had worked with radio talk show host Mae Brussell in Monterey on a story about Howard Hughes and Onassis. She read hundreds of pages of notes from Bruce Roberts—the source of the SK’s information, and she eventually went to San Francisco to meet him. Caruana compiled the SK from Roberts’ notes and began distributing them with his approval at rallies and other events.
If the bulk of revelations in the SK are false, the author went to a lot of work and did a great job concocting a story for which she received no credit for 30 years. If true, the history may explain much about our current situation.
The nature of this information is such that most people have one of two reactions: they either read the entire 22 pages at a single sitting or drop it like a hot potato after one or two. A surprising amount of the information has been verified as accurate, which lends credence to other aspects of the file. Still, I don’t recommend blind acceptance of its message, just an open mind. Truth is often much stranger than fiction.
I first became aware of Cass Sunstein’s ideas for controlling conspiracy theories after seeing several ads for a web site called America.gov run by the State Department. It’s a complex, well-funded site with more avenues than I’ve cared to examine, but what caught my attention was the section under International Relations: Peace and Security called “Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation” with the astounding caption: “Conspiracy theories exist in the realm of myth, where imaginations run wild, fears trump facts and evidence is ignored.”